Chapter Thirteen: Preparation and Procedure (4)Mature

He had only just reached his room at the inn and collapsed face first on his unmade bed when there came a timid knocking at the door.


            “May I come in?”

            Seymour clamped his hands around his pillow as if trying to strangle it.  “For future reference, Henry, I do not like being followed, especially by confessed murderers.”


            “I’m sorry,” Seymour amended with a sigh.  “I didn’t actually intend to say that.  Yes, you may come in.”

            Henry came in.  Cautiously, he approached the Aechyed and sat down on the edge of the mattress.  “Are you alright?”

            Seymour closed his eyes and buried his face in his pillow.  “No, I feel like shit,” he replied through gritted teeth.  “If I don’t drink something soon, I’m going to start having tremors.  But…but I don’t want to.  I don’t want to be drunk for this.  I hate being drunk!”

            “Is there anything I can do?”

            “You could go away.  Sorry,” Seymour corrected himself quickly.  “I didn’t mean to say that, either.”  He sat up stiffly and propped his elbows on his knees.  “No, there’s nothing you can do.  Nothing I can think of, at least.”  He dug in his pocket for a moment, brow furrowed.  “What time is it?  I think I’ve lost my pocket watch.”

            A very strange expression passed over Henry’s face.  Then it was gone, and he took out his timepiece and glanced at it.  “Ten ’til one.”

            “And we set off at two?  Rezyn,” he swore.  “I still need to get ready.”

            He stood up—too fast, it turned out, because a crippling wave of nausea washed over him, and the room spun dizzyingly.  He clapped a hand over his mouth and swayed dangerously for a moment until it had passed.

            “You’re in no state for this.”

            “I know.”

            “Seymour, there are lives at stake.  Time is at stake, in fact.  I don’t know what will happen if you fail in this, but it won’t be good—I’m certain of that, at least.”

            “Henry, I know.  I won’t fail.”


            “Trust me, Henry.  I will not let my condition impede me.  I can promise you that.”

            Henry backed down and sank to the bed once more, allowing Seymour to pass.  “All right,” he conceded reluctantly.  “Not as if there’s any other option, is there?”


            There was a long silence, broken only by the raven, which had resumed its perch on the bedpost, and was now pecking at the wall.


            “Hmm?” Seymour grunted distractedly, rummaging in his luggage.

            “I…I think I…I think I love you.”

            Seymour stopped.  He looked up and met Henry’s mismatched eyes.  And then, very deliberately, he made his cruelest remark yet:

            “I know.”

The End

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